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How to Solve an Insect Problem

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Insects can be great. They help pollinate plants. They can help aerate your lawn. They can attract birds, which you might actually be eager to have in your yard. The wrong kinds of bugs, though, can damage your lawn in big ways, from eating its roots, to chomping its blades.

Preventive lawn maintenance to keep the bad insects out and combative lawn care to oust them if they've already arrived can keep your lawn healthy and bad-bug free.
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Lawn Culprits

Your lawn can be afflicted by a stunning assortment of insects, from grubs that eat your lawn's roots to leafhoppers that suck the liquid nutrients right out of the blades. Whatever type of insects you've got - or are trying to avoid getting - use the following lawn care tactics to stay bad-bug-free from here on out.

Tip #1. Little Changes with Big Rewards.

Little lawn maintenance adjustments can help make your lawn an inhospitable home for bad bugs. Keep fertilizing in check. A tender, juicy, over-fertilized lawn is just what many a hungry bug is looking for. Dethatch often. A nice layer of thatch is a friendly invitation for insects.

Tip #2. Chemicals Work Wonders, but Aren't the Only Answer.

Lawn care that involves toxic chemicals can be scary, and rightly so. If you're among the folks who aren't eager to jump to commercial pesticides at the first sign of bugs, you're in luck.

Spraying your lawn with a nice soap solution is a lawn maintenance tack that won't hurt your grass and that will help you fight both bugs and lawn disease. Sometimes, though, a major infestation demands a major solution. If you're turning to a chemical insecticide, follow the directions with extreme care or hire a profession lawn care professional to do the job.

Tip #3. Think Lawn Type.

Endophytic grasses can make your lawn maintenance much simpler. They're particular strains of your favorite grass varieties with little fungi that fights insects built right into the plant. If you're plagued by insects, putting in an endophytic lawn can be a life saver.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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